Actress Kristen 'Twilight' Stewart Co-Authors AI Paper

Mitch Wagner
News Analysis
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud
1/23/2017
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Actress Kristen Stewart is branching out from her days as heroine of the Twilight teen vampire flix. She's co-authored an academic paper on the use of AI in a short film in which she makes her directorial debut.

The film, Come Swim, uses an AI technique known as "style transfer," where the aesthetics of one image or video are applied to another to create an impressionistic look.


She wrote a paper on the subject, which appears in a popular online repository for non-peer reviewed work, arXiv. The abstract begins:

Neural Style Transfer is a striking, recently-developed technique that uses neural networks to artistically redraw an image in the style of a source style image. This paper explores the use of this technique in a production setting, applying Neural Style Transfer to redraw key scenes in Come Swim in the style of the impressionistic painting that inspired the film.

Vampire Lover/AI Researcher
Kirsten Stewart. Photo: By Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Kirsten Stewart. Photo: By Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Co-authors are Bhautik J Joshi, research engineer at Adobe, and David Shapiro, producer at Starlight Studios.

Stewart's use of AI is a sign that "these machine learning tools, once thought of as esoteric and specialized, have become increasingly mainstream. Open source AI frameworks like Tensor Flow and Keras make it easy for anyone to try and implement code, and the commercialization of specific techniques like style transfer (even Facebook offers style transfer image filters) pushes this research into popular culture," the Verge notes.

Stewart joins a short but distinguished list of Hollywood actresses who let their geek flags fly. Danica McKellar, a former child star most famous for playing neighbor Winnie on the TV kidcom The Wonder Years, earned a BS in mathematics summa cum laude from UCLA, and as an undergrad co-authored a paper and mathematical theorem. She has gone on to become an advocate of girls getting into math. (See WiCipedia: Pao Tells All & The Wonder Years.)

And actress Hedy Lamarr co-developed spread spectrum and frequency hopping techniques as part of a radio guidance system for torpedoes in World War II; those principles are integral to modern WiFi, CDMA and Bluetooth technologies. She is the namesake for Women in Comm's Female Tech Pioneer of the Year award. (See Women in Comms' Leading Lights Awards Winners Revealed .)

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